Natural Enemies of Pests

Tachinid Flies

Tachinid Flies

Tachinid Flies  Order: DipteraFamily: Tachinidae Description Tachinid flies are gray or brown flies covered with dark bristles.R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Bugwood.org Tachinid fly and ...
Syrphid Flies

Syrphid Flies

Syrphid Flies Order: Diptera Family: Syrphidae Description Syrphid flies, also called hover flies or flower flies are brightly colored yellow or orange and black, and mimic bees or ...
Spiders

Spiders

Spiders Order: Araneae Description All spiders feed on insects or other small arthropods. Most people are familiar with the common web-making species. However, there are many other spiders – ...
Predatory Mites

Predatory Mites

Predatory Mites Order: AcariFamily: Phytoseiidae Description Several species of predatory mites are effective controls of plant-feeding spider mites. Other species of predatory mites feed on ...
Predatory Bugs

Predatory Bugs

Predatory Bugs Order: Hemiptera Description Many species of true bugs are predators of insects and mites. All feed by piercing the prey with their narrow mouthparts and sucking out body fluids. ...
Parasitoid Wasps

Parasitoid Wasps

Parasitoid Wasps Order: HymenopteraFamily: Braconidae, Ichneumonidae, Eulophidae, Aphelinidae, Trichogrammatidae  Description These wasps are a large and diverse group of parasitoids. Most are ...
Mantid

Mantid

Mantid Order: MantodeaFamily: Mantidae Description Mantids are uncommon in most of Colorado but are familiar insects to most gardeners. All mantids have front legs, which are large and ...
Lady Beetles

Lady Beetles

Lady Beetles Order: ColeopteraFamily: Coccinellidae Description Lady beetle adults are round to oval, bright red and often spotted. Lady beetle larvae look very different and are often overlook ...
Ground Beetles

Ground Beetles

Ground Beetles Order: ColeopteraFamily: Carabidae Description There are many species of ground beetles, usually found under debris, in soil cracks or moving quickly along the ground. Most are ...
Green Lacewings

Green Lacewings

Green Lacewings Order: NeuropteraFamily: Chrysopidae Description Several green lacewing species are found in gardens and field crops. The adult stage is familiar to most gardeners: a pale green ...

Purchasing Insect Predators and Parasites

  • Several inset predators and parasites are available for purchase. These include lady beetles, praying mantids, fly parasites, trichogramma wasps, green lacewings, and others.
  • Certain insect pathogens, such as Bacillus thuringiensis, and entomopathogenic nematodes, are also frequently used in biological control. Augmentative biological control (i.e., releases of natural enemies) can be especially effective in small-scale production and in greenhouse pest management.
  • In the yard and garden, it is important to recognize naturally occurring insect predators and parasitoids. Before making insecticide applications, always check plants to see if the existing beneficial organisms are abundant enough to provide control.

The Use of Flowering Plants by Beneficial Insects

  • Many insects that are important for pest management have special food needs during their adult stage.
  • The availability of flowering plants that provide these supplementary foods can increase the beneficial activity for natural enemies. See factsheet for a list of plants that are known to have high visitation by beneficial natural enemies.

Many insects, such as lady beetles, green lacewings, and parasitic wasps, feed on pollen and nectar or honeydew, which allows them to survive longer and produce more progeny. These alternative resources are important in maintaining diverse populations of natural enemies when prey is scarce. The availability of flowering plants that provide these supplementary foods can increase the beneficial activity of natural enemies.

CSU Extension Fact Sheet

Download or view the CSU Extension’s PDF fact sheet for your reference.